It was eight years ago this month that the Care and Share Charity Shop first opened its’ doors to the general public here in Histon and Impington.
Since that time, the Charity Shop has gone from strength to strength and to that end, we will always give thanks for the
vision and work of our predecessor, Captain Denise Cooper, and the great support of Divisional Headquarters in setting the shop up back in 2001.
It has been wonderful to see how the shop has become an established part of community life. Customers are able to come and find good bargains for sale. Yet, even more importantly, they are able to come and feel valued. This is because the volunteers who work there make a great effort to befriend the customers and so it is quite common for customers to pop into the shop to chat to the staff (sometimes not buying anything!). And this was always the primary goal of the shop, to become a meeting place for people in our community.
As a church, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the volunteers, both past and present, who give of their time to help The Salvation Army in this way. They are a great advert for the Salvation Army at work in our community.
Perhaps one of the greatest successes of the shop has also been the impact that it has had on the volunteers who work there. What we have seen happen is how each shift of volunteers becomes like a family as they often become good friends with each other. This makes an impact too with the customers who come in at specific times each week to chat to the volunteers who are on duty at that time. In this edition of the newsletter, you will also be able to read the moving story of Fonz Chamberlain, and how working in the shop has helped him get back on his feet with his life.
As the shop is 8 years old this month, we echo the words of 1 Chronicles 16:8, (NIV) “Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.” We thank God for the success of the shop!
Next time you pop into the charity shop, why not just say thanks to the
volunteers for the work they are doing. They’ll be pleased to see you and give you a warm welcome!
May God bless you,
Paul & Louise Wood
Happy New Year! We hope you all had a lovely Christmas and would like to wish you the very best for 2009.
The month of January can sometimes be an anti-climax once the excitement of Christmas is over and the decorations are taken down. For others, it is a chance to have a bit of a rest after the
busyness of the Christmas season.
As we have packed away the Christmas decorations and also entered into a New Year, it is helpful too that we don’t inadvertently ‘pack away’ the true meaning of Christmas for Christians. Whilst it would be a bit much to have Christmas every day, we can live out the message of Christmas each and every day. We remember the gift that God gave to each one of us: the ultimate gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. God gave us Jesus to guide and direct us in the way that we should go. Jesus Christ set us the example to live by, showed us how to love and care for each other and share the love of God with people.
The writer of Hebrews wrote that, ‘Jesus is the same, yesterday and
forever.’ (Hebrews 13:8) In a sense, let us seek to give out the same message of God’s love yesterday today and tomorrow. Let us pray and look for opportunities to do that with people and in that way the meaning of Christmas will not be ‘packed away’ for them until next Christmas!
I hope and pray that this year may be one in which we give our best to
ensure that Jesus doesn’t just get ‘packed away’ again until Christmas for people. Let us share the gift of Jesus, that ultimate gift from God each and everyday and live our lives so that they also reflect the qualities that Jesus Himself taught us.
As the year 2009 begins and we wait in anticipation to see what it might hold for each of us and our church, let us hold on to the message of
Christmas and make this year a year were Jesus is the centre of all that we do and say.
May God bless you.
Louise & Paul Wood
Just a few weeks ago, Louise and I had the
privilege of being able to visit my home of Seoul, South Korea to attend The Salvation Army’s
Centenary Congress. During our time there, one of the sights that stood out was how many of the churches had fluorescent crosses on the top of their buildings. This made for a powerful statement of the Christian presence within the city at night as the crosses would be lit up across the skyline. It reminded me of the image of the light shining out of the darkness.
Advent and Christmas are the time of year when we celebrate that Jesus Christ came to this earth. When we see some of the bad things that
happen in this world, it’s easy to ask the question, ’where is God in all of this?’. The truth about Christmas is that God is already here. God saw the difficulties of this world long before us and responded by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to this earth over 2,000 years ago.
The problem is that we do not always see that. It’s easy to get caught up just focussing on the troubles of this world. Yet, what we find in the Bible is that Jesus is the answer to the world’s problems. If only people would recognize Jesus for who He is! Then many more might come to realize how much God loves us and decide to accept Jesus as their Saviour?
How can we do something about that? The easy answer might be to put a fluorescent cross on our building (although planning regulations might not allow us to!) Instead, the answer that can have a lasting impact, which is what the Korean Christians are doing as well, is to let the light of God shine out of us into the lives of people that we meet. Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV), "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
As we enter the Advent season, I give thanks to God that Jesus is the
answer! May His light shine out from each one of us into our world so that others too may come to know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour! We wish you a Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year!
May God bless you.
Paul & Louise Wood
Last month saw the opportunity for us to come together as a church to celebrate Harvest, both with the Supper and the Sunday worship. It was a personal delight for Louise and I to have as our guests on Harvest Sunday, Majors Mike & Joan Parker. It was a delight
because the Majors were very encouraging and supportive to us in our early days on the path to becoming Salvation Army officers.
Whenever we take a moment to look back on our lives, we can all give thanks to God for those people of faith that influenced us positively in
different ways in our Christian journey. It might have been an encouraging word, a shoulder to lean on or some other way but we have grown as Christians in part because of the positive influence of these people.
As Christians, Jesus tells us we are to be ‘salt and light’ to this world (see Matthew 5:13-16). What a privilege and responsibility that God entrusts to us so that we might be positive influences upon others in their journey with God.
It may also be that all of us have not always thanked the people who have influenced us over the years. Did they ever realize how much they were being salt and light in our lives? May all of us just seek to faithfully follow God and who knows just how many lives might be the better for it as we share the love of God with them. We may not always know what impact we have but take heart that you are making a difference by being salt and light for God in this world.
May God bless you.
Paul & Louise Wood